When the Washington Nationals dismissed outfielder Elijah Dukes, they opened up a gaping hole in their lineup. At present, they plan to fill right field with some combination of Willie Harris and Willy Tavares, which is oh-so-very Nationals-like. But they aren’t necessarily satisfied with the status quo, and have been discussing trade options, which includes discussions with the Chicago Cubs.

A club source said the Nationals have discussed a trade for right fielder Corey Hart with the Brewers, and talked to the Cubs about outfielder Kosuke Fukudome. They have even inquired about Rays outfielder B.J. Upton, though they came away feeling Tampa Bay wouldn’t part with the 24-year-old speedster unless it was out of the AL East race this summer.

But none of those talks have been particularly substantive; the Nationals and Brewers haven’t found common ground on a deal for Hart, who is making $4.8 million in his second year of arbitration. Fukudome, who has underperformed in Chicago since coming over from Japan, still has two years left on a deal that will pay him a combined $26.5 million this season and next year and offer him limited no-trade protection. Unless the Cubs were willing to eat a decent portion of the 32-year-old’s contract, it’s unlikely the Nationals would land him. MASNsports.com.

Even taking the money out of the equation – which would be a significant hurdle to actually making a deal – there are two huge problems with a Cubs/Nats Fukudome trade.

First, the Cubs would have to be confident that trading Fukudome doesn’t make them worse. And for that to happen, they’ll need to know that Xavier Nady is fully ready to go, and they’ll need to know that Tyler Colvin is a Major League caliber hitter. Neither is a certainty at this point.

Second, Fukudome has a no-trade clause, and the likelihood of him accepting a trade to Washington is, at a minimum, questionable.



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